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Let’s Not Train and Say We Did

Since our last conversation life has happened with regularity and normalcy. Shadows lengthened over familiar landscapes, fragrant flora awash in pure sunlight unfolded in the vast wilds and well-attended pots of clay, walls of ice silently thundered into the polar seas, cracks of what sounded like gunshot pierced the rawness of crumbling streets, fires roared, taking what they needed, and the populations of anxious people scrambled about, absorbed with themselves.

Chaos persists, empires rage on, democracy is leveraged, peace is compromised, iron is raised and lowered, strength is established, courage is tested and victories are won. Warmed up, stretched and flexible, we, the loyal and stalwart, set one foot ahead of the other. Forward, onward, up and over, any way but backward. Have Bomber Blend, will proceed; have iron, will progress; have purpose, will persist.

Hi, there. You look like a curious and knowledgeable person. Have you ever wondered why you insist on lifting weights after all these years? Stunning subject matter, isn’t it?

Before you commence serious research and compile a sophisticated hypothesis, try this: Stop lifting for a week. The fundamental reason hits you like a ton of bricks—make that a pile of iron.

You’re miserable when you don’t.

Further contemplation, the antagonizing trade-off: You dare not train, and decisions are accompanied by doubt; happiness is prefaced with hesitation, and wonder is foiled by fear. Smiles quiver, fulfillment is denied, comfort is out of reach, order falls apart, and forward motion stalls.

Cease to push and pull, lug and tug, and ironheads shrivel up and die. Period.

Wizards, psychiatrists, asylum keepers and prison wardens note that the reasons iron lifters lift iron are innumerable and remarkable: improvement of strength, health, shape and physical capability; personal expression, discipline and character development; stress release, the good fight and the joy of living.

We are rebels, freedom fighters, born to be unique, unbound—unfettered. If only we had not swallowed the cast-iron pill. Now here we are, over-30-something and hooked hard.

The gym was Sunday-perfect when I entered. The overhead fan with its 20-foot blades whirled smoothly, sun and air everywhere, iron at hand and a handful of damp, tattooed loyalists on the floor, he and she in their prime.

I had choices, options and possibilities: push and pull, pull and push or heave and shove. I chose them all. I don’t have much time, yet I have all the time in the world.

How’s it go again? Lift it or lose it? Something like that.

For 35 minutes I pushed and pulled this way and that with the precise form and pace and continuity and production of a lumbering oil rig built in the early 1940s.

4 supersets: 4 sets x 6 to 12-15 reps = 16 sets

Enough is enough, by golly-gosh and God Almighty…. —Dave Draper


Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit www and sign up for his free newsletter. You can also check out his amazing Top Squat training tool, classic photos, workout Q&A and forum.


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